Further, McCarrick uses the word “effective,” which is an irrelevant notion in making this sort of determination. The effectiveness of basic nutrition and hydration is besides the point. (Nobody thinks feeding Terri Schiavo will make her brain more responsive, just as nobody thinks food and water will cure a cancer patient.) Only when food and water become actively harmful can they be withheld, and only then because it is better for the dying person—meaning, more conducive to a peaceful death as free of pain as possible—that they be withheld.
Does anybody else see the problems here, or am I overreacting? Listen, doing TV is difficult and distracting, and you always think of pithier, clearer ways of saying things after you’re done. You also can’t control the questions. I don’t expect Cardinal McCarrick to be smooth as silk on TV. (He did issue a fairly decent statement on the Schiavo case last week.) But, frankly, I do expect the Cardinal Archbishop of
to be both comfortable enough in front of the camera and clear enough in his proclamation of the truth that the faithful don’t take from an interview lessons that are completely contradictory to Church teaching. What a wasted opportunity.